One of the recurring themes in the book of Judges is the Israelites’ replacement of the One True God with created idols. We find it in Judges 2:11:
And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals.
God judged His people and then raised up judges to deliver them from the egregious results of His righteous judgment. However, after each judge died, the people turned back to their worship of idols. It was a spiritual process of cleanse, rinse, and repeat. (Judges 2:16-19; cf. Judges 3:7-11) When Gideon broke down his father’s Baal idol and cut down the Asherah, the town’s people were out for blood. Gideon’s blood. (Judges 6:25-30) Christians today are inclined to shake their heads and give these passages a tsk, tsk – while claiming they don’t understand how the Nation of Israel could have so easily turned from the God Who delivered them to idols they had created by their own hands. Is the church that much better, though? It doesn’t seem so.
As the occult origins of the Enneagram are pointed out to those happily engaged in the Enneagram craze, a very common defense is, “Choosing to use the Enneagram or not is like the question of eating meat sacrificed to idols.” (1 Corinthians 8) In other words, Christians are as free to engage with the Enneagram as the Christians in the early church were free to eat meat that had been “sacrificed to idols.” But, as our good friend and associate Marcia Montenegro succinctly points out,
The Enneagram is not like meat sacrificed to idols. The Enneagram IS the idol.
In her October 2022 article, “Is the Enneagram Like Meat Offered to Idols?” Marcia correctly explains that meat is spiritually neutral. It is just food and not a spiritual tool. The Apostle Paul voiced this very sentiment:
Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. (1 Corinthians 8:8)
The issue wasn’t about shunning meat that was used in a ritual to an idol, but that we are to “flee from idolatry” itself. That is pretty straightforward. Even so, Intervarsity Press, Zondervan, Thomas Nelson Publishers, and Russell Moore at Christianity Today are all in on promoting this idol as the current spiritual tool of choice – and why not? Like the very best idols in the ancient past, this one is very profitable.
In a 2010 interview, Claudio Naranjo confessed that he invented the story that the Enneagram is ancient and that he channeled the specific Enneagram types through automatic writing. Naranjo’s lies concerning the Enneagram’s origins and his “channeling” of the specifics occurred six years before IVP introduced the Enneagram idol into the Evangelical church. When informed of its true origins and of Naranjo’s channeling of the types, IVP – and the other publishers we contacted – ignored the evidence and simply resent their form letter asserting its ancient origins. As more Christians are becoming aware of its occultic connection, this is becoming an increasing problem for the Enneagram priests and priestesses. Pastor Zach Tyler at Gospel for Enneagram recently attempted to mitigate Naranjo’s automatic writing confession in his Gospel for Enneagram Youtube video, “Is the Enneagram Demonic? An Informed Response.” Is Tyler providing an “informed response,” or is this an uninformed or deceptive attempt at defense for something that is incompatible with Biblical teachings?
Tyler begins with a short clip of Naranjo’s admission to inventing the false history of the Enneagram and claims he received the specific Enneagram types through automatic writing. Tyler then points out that people take the Bible out of context when not understanding the words or culture in which it was written. He is, of course, correct that many people take the Bible out of context – and this is something MCOI addresses on a regular basis. He then suggests that those of us who point to Naranjo’s video as evidence for the occultic origins of the Enneagram are taking his words out of context. He further posits that those of us who see Naranjo’s interview as evidence of his occultic involvement do not understand the New Age terms being used as well as the life and teaching of Naranjo. Tyler then goes on to give “a working definition.”
Automatic writing is thought to be performed without conscious thought: or deliberation, typically by means of spontaneous free association; as a means for divine guidance; or by spirits and or psychic forces.
Tyler then notes that most assume the latter definition and claim Naranjo means he received the types “by spirit and go even further to say he received it from a demon.” Tyler contacted Katherine Fauvre (New Ager) seeking her insight, and she responded that Naranjo was just doing:
free association based on his experience and drawing on the types that Oscar Ichazo had proposed
There are several problems with Fauvre and Tyler’s defense of the Enneagram idol. These problems are self-evident if one has knowledge of the life and teaching of Naranjo and the context provided by the full ten-minute video, “The origin of the Enneagram – Claudio Naranjo speaks – June 2010.” The interview was done by E.J. Gold, who is self-described as “the Waking State Guru – to bring higher consciousness to the planet, one eternal moment at a time.”
In this video interview, Naranjo points out Oscar Ichazo never proposed Ennea-types. That is true Ichazo tied the Enneagram to Jungian “ego fixations,” but not Ennea-types. The interviewer, E.J. Gold, affirmed that was the information he received from others that had been taught by Ichazo at his Arica School in Chile as well.
Secondly, Tyler abandons the video context by stopping it short of Naranjo clearly stating that he and Ichazo received their information from “higher sources, not historical sources.” For some reason, Tyler’s excluded that portion from the “context.” However, it makes it very clear Naranjo was in contact with spiritual beings and not just using “spontaneous free association” to arrive at his “truth.” Again, E.J. Gold chimed in, asserting that is also how he receives his information as well. The higher sources are spirit beings – not just random thoughts jotted down while he was engaging in “spontaneous free association.”
Third, we actually do know about “the life and teaching of Naranjo.” It isn’t a secret. A quick review of Naranjo’s books on psychedelics and spirituality, including his last book, My Psychedelic Explorations: The Healing Power and Transformational Potential of Psychoactive Substances, (the Enneagram is prominently displayed on the cover) demonstrates a connection to spiritual sources other than his “experience and expertise as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst.” He has authored several books on better spirituality through better hallucinogens. Naranjo most closely associated his spirituality with that of shamanism, and his psychedelic of choice for connecting to the spirit world was Ayahuasca. “Ayahuasca: Shamanism Shared Across Cultures” by Luis Eduardo Luna sheds more light and context on Naranjo’s use of the phrase “higher sources not historical sources”:
Traditionally ayahuasca was also used in warfare, divination, for artistic inspiration, and as the main theme of cultural narratives. In healing, its uses include identification of illness origin, shamanic journeys to restore soul loss, extraction of pathogenic objects, and shamanic fights with the animated agents of illness. In general, ayahuasca is used as an instrument to gain access to information coming from unseen realms, as well as from the social and natural environment.
All the main elements of core shamanism are present in this tradition: initiation procedures, which include dietary prescriptions; sexual segregation; and repetitive access to altered states of consciousness (ASC). It includes the acquisition of helpful animal spirits and the progressive learning of icaros, or magic songs, from spirits of nature. Its concepts of illness include soul loss (and requires concurrent shamanic flights to fetch and restore the soul to a patient), as well as the intrusion of partly material spiritual pathogenic agents that may be extracted by the shaman. In ayahuasca, as in core shamanism, the shamans transform themselves into various animals or elements of the natural world in order to explore various realms (typically underwater, earth, and sky) and attack or defend themselves from the attacks of rival shamans.
It is unfortunate that Pastor Zach Tyler and so many other Enneagram proponents have embraced and defended this idol as a spiritual tool through which the word of God is interpreted. Can a Christian honestly accept concepts like “shaman, shamanism, magic songs, altered states of consciousness, animal or nature spirits, channeling, hallucinogens, shamanic soul restoration, divination, automatic writing, and other undeniably dark New Age practices? How are they in any way compatible with biblical Christianity?Ω
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